Nobody wants to be faced with divorce. It is a challenging time in anyone’s life. When the rest of your world may feel out of control, it is important to take control over the things you can control. Getting financially ready can help you to feel more confident and stronger to deal with what lies ahead. This can also help reduce the emotional as well as financial cost of your divorce.
Here are my top 3 tips for taking financial control in preparation for your divorce:
1. Review Your Finances
Before embarking on divorce, it is useful to work out what your financial position actually is. It is also important to have reviewed your finances before you see a solicitor/mediator. Having a good understanding of your family’s finances, will help you get the best professional advice. Write a list of all your assets and liabilities; e.g. family home, bank accounts, credit cards etc. It is also useful to collect up to date written valuations of the relevant financial information, to show you solicitor.
Before you separated, bills were likely to have been paid from a joint pot. Things are now different. It is a good idea to prepare a list of your monthly outgoings. This helps establish what money you require coming in to the household each month to meet your monthly expenses. This can take some time to work out. Again, it saves time and money if you can have at least given this some thought before you see the solicitor and/or mediator.
If you have not had the time or strength to undertake this exercise, or simply don’t know where to start, please do not worry. There is help and support out there to assist you.
2. Seek Professional Advice
It is very common for people facing divorce to feel insecure about money. I often hear questions such as: Can I afford to get divorce? How much will it cost? What will I get by way of financial settlement? It is important to obtain the appropriate professional advice to help answer these questions. The main professionals who together can assist you get ready financially are;
Divorce Coach – Seeing a divorce coach/consultant is a great starting point to learn how best to proceed with your separation and divorce. They provide help and guidance to get you ready personally and practically. They can give tips on how to approach things as well as important emotional support to help you cope with this challenging time. They can support and guide you throughout the divorce and beyond.
Financial Advisor (if you have one) – They can help you review your financial position, which can reduce the time and stress it takes you to do it yourself. Your financial advisor can also assist with the preparation of a schedule of your financial information and collect the relevant documentation. They can continue to be of help to the solicitor/mediator throughout the legal case. Post- divorce, they can work with you regarding financial planning for the future.
Family Law Solicitor – It is your solicitor who can provide you with legal advice about your situation and can answer your questions regarding a financial settlement. Even if you decide to proceed to a financial settlement by way of Mediation, it is still appropriate for you to have first sought legal advice from an independent solicitor. The more background information the solicitor has about your family’s finances, the better equipped they are to answer your questions.
3. Arrange Access to Funds
Once you are living apart from your spouse, you will need to ensure you have access to money. You will need to meet both your monthly living expenses as well as the professional costs associated with your divorce. How this is approached depends on your personal circumstances. You may have savings etc. in your sole name or you may need to consider reaching an agreement with your estranged spouse to provide you with financial support during the divorce (and perhaps beyond). If neither of these is possible, you may need to think about other options, such as securing a loan from a family member or the bank.
It is very important to get funding in place to obtain proper professional advice. It is an investment and a necessity. Trying to do everything yourself or choosing the cheapest option of approaching things, can be a false economy. If mistakes are made it can cost you more in the long run, financially and personally. Get things done right, the first time.
Understanding your monthly costs and how your lifestyle may change post-divorce, puts you in a stronger position for dealing with the financial negotiations in the divorce. Get informed.
There are lots of other steps that can be taken for you to prepare for your divorce. For more information about these, please get in touch with me, at Rhiannon@rhiannonford.co.uk. However, following these 3 tips is a good starting point to enable you to:
- Better understand your present financial position,
- Ensure you have funds in place to get the best professional advice and representation, and
- Establish what funds need to be in place for you post-divorce.
©Rhiannon Ford 2013
Rhiannon Ford is a divorce coach and consultant. She provides practical help and emotional support to people going through divorce and separation. Rhiannon practised as a family law solicitor for many years, and is also a personal development coach. She uses her legal experience and coaching skills to provide clarity and comfort to help navigate her clients through the complexities of the divorce process. Find out more about her divorce consultancy services at www.rhiannonford.co.uk